A person might naturally conclude upon seeing this astonishing image of the mighty Sacsayhuaman that access to marvels such as this provide the most rewarding aspects of my work as a fine art photographer. Sacsayhuaman is a complex built centuries ago by the people of the Inca Empire and located near Cusco, Peru. It is indeed, a marvel, an engineering feat constructed with enormous, carved limestone boulders fitted so tightly they required no mortar to hold them in place. Behind this astounding wall was a city in which there were mazes, temples, watchtowers, houses, aqueducts, roads, and other structures.
Spanish conquerors arriving at what they called The Fortress were amazed, but soon pilfered the stones for their own purposes. In that act of colonization, they struck down not only a miracle of ancient ingenuity but threatened the loss of a culture, a history, a legacy.
Even so, the tragedy of colonization of indigenous people and cultures that spreads across the globe cannot mar what is for me the greatest reward I find in visiting these ancient sites and communities. Instead of the dramas of each sight or any decimation, it is the human touchpoint of each image I’m privileged to make that reigns supreme. What I remember about this Quechuan woman in the brightly color wrap is that she was so tiny. I’m not terribly tall myself and she came up to below my shoulder: she was at most four feet eight inches in height. She beckoned me to climb up the wall and she climbed with such youthful vigor that I reached only the first section of the assent by the time she was at the top. When I at last joined her, she and I had some good giggles while overlooking the incredible Inca Empire remains. I wondered then and still do, what life could have been like for her ancestors, the people who once lived in that marvelous, ancient city so many years ago.